Ducati MotoE V21L prototype officially takes to the track


Ducati pulled the virtual covers off the electric motorcycle that will make up the field of the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, otherwise known as the electric class of MotoGP motorcycle racing, starting in 2023 when it will replace the Energica Ego Corsa. The V21L prototype made its debut at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli race track in Italy, a fitting spot for the Italian manufacturer. And, unsurprisingly, the machine looks amazing.

Michele Pirro, professional racer and since 2013 a Ducati test rider, helmed the electric beast during its testing phase. “The bike is light and already has a good balance. Furthermore, the throttle connection in the first opening phase and the ergonomics are very similar to those of a MotoGP bike,” he said. “If it weren’t for the silence and for the fact that in this test, we decided to limit the power output to just 70% of performance, I could easily have imagined that I was riding my bike.”

Roberto Canè, Ducati’s eMobility Director, similarly heaped praise on the machine, calling it “exceptional not only for its uniqueness but also for the type of undertaking: challenging both for its performance objectives and for its extremely short timescales.” That undertaking consists of more than just serving as Ducati’s first electric motorcycle; the lessons learned crafting this racing machine will serve the company well as it strives to have an electric bike commercially available to paying customers by 2030.

We expect major changes before the V21L is officially ready for racing duty. Ducati cites remaining challenges related to the size, weight and range of the batteries, as well as providing adequate cooling and the proper consistency of power delivery during the entirety of a race.

The photos of the machine reveal what we’d imagine is a large block of a battery pack under the fairing, along with a cooler of some sort below, though we can’t say what parts of the bike — the motor, gearbox and battery pack all seem likely to generate some heat — are liquid cooled. We see suspension bits by Ohlins, a lot of carbon fiber with an aluminum chassis component at its heart, and a double-sided swingarm. We’ll just have to wait for more details, but in the meantime, it’s exciting to see how rapidly the prototype is being developed.

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